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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:34, July 07, 2005
Egypt seeks release of diplomat in Iraq
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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is holding constant contacts with the Iraqi government and all Iraqi powers to seek release of abducted Egyptian diplomat Ihab el- Sharif, the official MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

The ministry has formed an emergency team to follow up the situation, an Egyptian diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit held a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshiar al-Zibari.

Sharif was kidnapped by a group of gunmen on Saturday near the Egyptian consulate in al-Rabie Street in western Baghdad.

An audiotape purportedly attributed to al-Qaida leader and the most wanted man in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed on Tuesday that his group had kidnapped the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq.

The al-Qaida wing in Iraq said in a statement posted on the Internet on Wednesday that it will kill Sharif for being an apostate.

Last month, Egypt became the first Arab and neighboring country to respond to a US call for upgrading diplomatic missions in Baghdad.

Up to 49 countries have now different grades of diplomatic representations in Iraq, including 18 Arab and Muslim countries, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

Source: Xinhua

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